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The British Council

08 October, 2008 21:04  EasyExpat EasyExpat

As part of our series on international institutions, today’s article focuses on the British Council.

The British Council is a non-department public body of the UK government which specializes in educational and development opportunities. Founded in 1934, the main aim of this institution is to build cultural and educational relations between the United Kingdom and other countries. Its overseas network spans across 233 locations in 107 countries and territories. In the UK, it has branch offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and Cambridge and a headquarters in Spring Gardens.

The British Council has two main sources of income – funding in the form of grants from the governments and income from teaching English. In 2006/2007, it brought in an income of £551m, of which £195m was grants from the British government.

Key activities of the British Council
While its main focus is on the teaching and spread of the English language and culture, it is also actively involved in promoting arts and architecture, science and social development. Let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail

Teaching and learning English
The British Council has a number of courses to teach the English language to students of various levels. They also have a number of courses for people who want to teach English as a second language. Once ready to teach, the British Council supports and partners with other courses and networks to help students build their professional network. Some of the tie-ups that they are a part of include ELTECS, Hornby Educational Trust and SearchEnglish.

Strengthening Inter-cultural Relationships
The British Council offers a number of opportunities to strengthen cultural exchange between countuies.  Youth Exchange for example helps British youth volunteer in projects around the world, School Partnerships allows students to experience student life in another school in another part of the world, Teaching Exchange Programmes allow teachers to ‘visit’ and train in foreign schools and the Sports Partnerships give sports enthusiasts an opportunity to explore another culture through sports. The Global Exchange is another interesting programme where a team from UK and a team from another country work together on a project for six months to learn and understand each other’s culture.

Let’s talk about Arts
British Council also offers a number of art-related courses. From art, architecture and design to dance, drama, music, film and literature, it’s a great place to check out international artists or hone your own skills.

Science and Society
The British Council picks a few topics and focuses on them through the year. For example, in early 2008, the British Council initiated a search to select young 'climate change champions' from 13 countries. The main aim of the project was to form a team of youth ambassadors to spread awareness about the effects of climate change and how they could help mitigate effects in their immediate community.  

 

 

 

   



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